Salesforce adoption is slow at many companies. Learn how to speed up Salesforce adoption at your organization. Salesforce.com is only useful if people use it.

Let me guess… you’re having problems with Salesforce adoption at your company.

It seems like just last year you were pitching the senior team (or maybe being pitched by the senior team) about how the company needed to invest in upgrading that clunky old CRM to Salesforce.com. You can still picture the slides touting the benefits the whole team would reap from Salesforce:

  • A single source of truth for sales, marketing, and operations.
  • One-click sales forecasts that were always accurate and up to date.
  • A truly distributed CRM system with universal usage and shared nomenclature used by every sales rep in the company.
  • 100% capture of relevant sales and prospect data that would power ever-more-accurate and useful decisions by the entire management team.

But somehow, this hasn’t happened—at least, not the way you hoped.

Salesforce.com is a great application, and all the promised benefits seem tantalizingly close to realization, but….

  • Not every sales rep uses Salesforce.com fully, or in some cases, at all. So some inquires, leads, opportunities, and deals still exist outside the system.
  • Leads, opportunities, and contacts aren’t used consistently across the organization, making a lot of the reporting and dashboards messy or even misleading.
  • Many reps don’t fill in the required fields correctly, or they use custom fields inconsistently.

All of this makes some of the data in Salesforce… well, not garbage, exactly, but kind of… junky. This has led to some alarming trends:

  • Some members of senior management (sometimes including you) have become frustrated at all the messy data, and their own utilization of Salesforce has started to fall (or never was really all that great to start with). This makes others in the company less inclined to work in Salesforce, and suddenly a vicious cycle of disuse has started to infect the company.
  • Other consumers of data have started to despair of ever getting accurate data from the system and are casting around for alternatives to the so-called single source of truth. For instance, the marketing team is trying to determine revenue attribution to optimize its advertising campaigns, but the data that comes out is unusable.

So while Salesforce is great and everything, your results could be better.

Don’t Despair

Take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. Many companies struggle with Salesforce.com adoption issues. It’s not easy. Your company’s decision to invest in Salesforce.com licenses, training, and consulting was a good one. You just need to maximize that investment by motivating your people to use it correctly. Feel better?

Okay, enough of the pity party: here’s how you can improve the situation. First, face up to two key facts:

1. Salesforce.com is only useful when people use it.

You have to get people logging into Salesforce.com not just every day, but multiple times every day. Everyone in the system needs to be getting their work done in Salesforce.com. To drive this adoption, you should publicly track and reward high performers in this area. Gamify it if you can. Get top-level executives to call attention to the program and lead by example.

“90% of the job is just showing up.”

Oh, and just accept the fact that a huge percentage of your users will have forgotten their passwords because they haven’t logged in for the past 30 days. Make it easier on them by sending out a reminder on how to reset passwords to anyone who hasn’t logged in within the past 30 days. (This report is easily available in your admin dashboard.)

2. Salesforce.com is only as good as the data that people put into it.

“Garbage in; garbage out.”

Sure, showing up is 90% of the job, but it’s not the whole job. You need to motivate your people to use the system correctly. That means measuring, publicizing, and rewarding people when they perform the tasks in Salesforce that you want them to do. So, for instance, you can track and reward people when they:

  • Create contacts with all required information
  • Properly fill in custom fields
  • Add notes to records with useful information
  • Update opportunity stages on a regular basis
  • Whatever it is you need your people to do more of, or do better, in Salesforce

The problem isn’t Salesforce, the problem is the way your team is using it.

Want more ideas and advices on how to increase Salesforce.com adoption?
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